Date range
5 June 2017, 10:00am to 6 June 2017, 4:00pm
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Now in its 70th year, Cumberland Lodge is revisiting its founding vision to be a 'safe' space where people can come together to combat hatred and social division through constructive dialogue.

This anniversary conference will interpret and explore the pressing issue of extremism and seek new insights into how to combat it.

  • What are the similarities and differences between far-right movements in the 1930s and populist movements today?
  • Why do divisive ideologies still have an appeal?  
  • What are the factors that lead to extremism and what can be done to undermine it? 

'Extremism: A Warning from History' will bring together an invited audience of stakeholders from a wide range of backgrounds and perspectives, including education professionals, academic researchers from a range of disciplines, policymakers and influencers and representatives of the younger generation who are facing a world increasingly defined by divisions and animosity, to address these urgent and important questions.

Convened under the Chatham House rule, the conference will explore some of the controversies surrounding the historical analysis of 1930s extremism, and seek to understand the causes of extremism by examining it from economic, social, psychological and ideological perspectives.

A warning from history

Cumberland Lodge has a vision of more peaceful, open and inclusive societies and that vision emerged in the 1940s through the work of our founder, Amy Buller, and her efforts to understand how Nazism captured the minds of a generation of young people in Germany.

First published in 1943, Buller's groundbreaking book, Darkness over Germany, delivered a stark warning from history of how a man with little political experience rose up as a voice of the people, a voice for the disenfranchised who were suffering the injustices of social inequality and unemployment. 

This spring, Darkness over Germany is being republished for the first time in English since 1945, as Darkness over Germany: A Warning from History, with an afterword by our Principal, Edmund Newell.

Amy Buller sought to understand the vulnerabilities that allowed hatred to take root, and to use that understanding to protect future generations from extremism. She promoted open and challenging discussion as a means of demonstrating that divisions and disagreements do not have to lead to hatred.

The realisation of her vision at Cumberland Lodge, in the aftermath of World War II, offered a new way to safeguard against extremism. Now, in our 70th anniversary year, 'Extremism: A Warning from History' will revisit what extremism is and how it arises, and focus on the steps we can take to build more resilient societies.


Confirmed speakers include:

  • Professor Kurt Barling, Professor of Journalism, Middlesex University London

  • Professor Michael Hand, Professor of Philosophy of Education, University of Birmingham

  • Imam Monawar Hussein DL, Founder, The Oxford Foundation

  • Rt Hon. Lord Justice Laws, Visiting Fellow, Cumberland Lodge

  • Katherine O'Lone, Amy Buller PhD Scholar, Cumberland Lodge

  • Professor Tariq Modood, Professor of Sociology, Politics and Public Policy, and founding Director of the Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol

  • Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain MBE, Minister, Maidenhead Synagogue

  • Elisabeth Sandmann, Publisher of the first German edition of Darkness over Germany (2016)

  • Lord Skidelsky, Emeritus Professor of Political Economy, University of Warwick

  • Professor Nicholas Stargardt, Professor of Modern European History, University of Oxford  

  • Professor Harvey Whitehouse, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford


This event is free to attend but participation is by invitation only.

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